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McCarthy lays it on line

Mick McCarthy has left his Wolves players in no doubt as to the importance of tomorrow's Black Country derby against West Bromwich Albion, informing them that it is the most important game of the season for both clubs.

Perhaps the reason for its relative obscurity outside the English Midlands is that, even though the battle lines were drawn 122 years ago, the rescheduled match is the first time the fixture has been held in the Premier League, for the two sides have not met in the top division since 1984.

Because of the timing, it is not just local bragging rights at stake.

Defeat for Wolves would leave them six points adrift at the bottom of the table, while a win by more than one goal would mean they climb out of the relegation zone and above West Brom on goal difference. No wonder McCarthy has sounded the trumpets.

"It would be wrong of me to wind players up," he said, "but I got them on the training ground and said you can pick any game you like, wherever you're from -- whether it be Ronald Zubar, who tells me it's Marseille and the Paris teams -- and told them this is the big game for this club. It would be a huge game even if it was a cup tie with two divisions between us." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent